Monday, November 30, 2009

Review & Giveaway: Little Lesiw Blooms for Girls


Everyone knows I have been having a ball since having a little girl, dressing her up like a mini me and everything. I was eeked to be introduced to Little Lesiw Accessories, an Etsy shop featuring little girl hair accessories called Blooms. They are round flower-shaped barrettes covered in cute little designed cloth (see photo). They are too cute. I love the vibrant colors and designs and from the photo, the blooms look pretty sturdy. Too cute. Designer Rachel also sells her
blooms in select stores around the country and has celebrity gifted her blooms in the past.

Lucky for you, Rachel has decided to give away a set of Blooms to one Bellyitch reader (see right). And for two weeks, starting today, Rachel is doing something she says she never does, put her Blooms on sale. Click on the this link and the ad to the right on this blog page to check out the variety of Blooms on sale. They are too adorable and would make great gifts for the holidays or for a baby shower.

To enter, you know the drill, simply enter below and for extra entries either 1. follow this blog via Blogger or Facebook Networked Blogs. or 2. Follow me on Twitter. Each entry method needs a new form.

Contest ends December 20 at midnight. Limited to USA and Canada. Entrants must have a shipping address and not a P.O. Box.



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Money Saving Tips for New & Soon-to be New Moms



I was intrigued when eavesdropping Twitter conversations of a couple of pregnant moms I am following (admittedly past Spotlight subjects @FutureMama and @ChristinaCJones) as they discussed ways to save money and cut costs in preparation for their new arrivals. Everyone knows babies can be expensive! Ironically, around the same time, I got a message from TwitterMoms and Staples which has teamed up to offer Parenting Bloggers $25 for Posting about Cost saving tips for the Holidays. It was a no brainer to jump in and add my two cents in:


Holidays Savings to me are all about having money saved up from cutting costs all year round to purchase the things you want and need for yourself and loved ones by the time Christmas, Hanukkah, Eid, Diwali, and Kwanzaa roll around.

1. Christmas Savings Account - Open a Christmas savings account and have money from your paycheck added before you even get paid. These days, it is pretty simple to have the money deposited automatically so you don't even feel its absence. I recommend putting this account in a Credit Union or a bank that has very few branches or branches that are difficult to access and by all means, do NOT get an ATM card! The idea is to make the money inaccessible so it stays put and grows. Another idea is to stash savings from a lump sum like a bonus in a 6-9 month CD that you can't withdraw without penalty.


2. Social Media Hook ups -I'm a sucker for social media and I'm all about Twitter and Facebook. I highly recommend Following baby brands on Twitter and become their Facebook Fans. I've noticed recently that manufacturers are treating their followers with deep deep discounts and hipping them to sales and specials not advertised to the general public. The key is to create a way to monitor their tweets and updates so you can take advantage of the secret savings.


3. Blogger contests - Another great place to score some freebies is by entering one of the dozens of mom blogger contests held monthly. These days, brands are realizing that "word of mouth" marketing via their friendly local mom blogger can be as effective or even more effective on reaching their target market than traditional advertising. That being said, if you go to sites like Big List of Giveways, Gobs of Giveaways or Free Blog Giveaways or Loads of Freebies or Mom Giveaways or the Giveaway Gallery on any given day, you can find goo gabs of stuff being given away and some blogs get so few entrants that your odds of winning are actually pretty high!


4. Discount and Bulk Sales stores - When shopping, make your first stop those discount stores like Ross, Marshalls, Burlington Coat Factory, TJ Maxx, Loehmanns, Filene's Basement, Sam's Club and Costco. You are bound to find quality brands for deep deep discounts. I usually hit pay dirt and find all my gifts for the kids' teachers at these stores. They are great for finding packaged gifts, spa goodies and cookies /fudge - you know quick and painless gifts.


Here are three more general cost saving tips for new moms and soon to be new moms to save money year round on infant and newborn needs. The savings should go towards that holidays stash.


1. Free Formula: - A little known fact is that formula companies somehow get the addresses of new moms (I suspect from the hospitals) and they send them coupons and free formula each month. I learned though that the moment you cash in the coupons, the free formula stops. So me, who breastfed exclusively my first child , ended up racking up about 12 tins of free formula which came in handy just as I started to wean the feller off. Those tins lasted until he was on whole milk and no longer needed formula! If you don't use the brand, you could always gift the milk to a friend or donate it to a food bank.


2. Hospital Stash - Another little known fact is that you can take everything not bolted to the ground with you home from the hospital. Yes! In fact, it is expected. My sister is a mother/baby postpartum nurse and after my first kid, I was shocked to see her urge me to take all the goodies: the sanitary pads, extra diapers in the baby bassinet, the thick clothlike wipes, the mesh undies, the makeshift hats and all. I'm not quite sure if you are free to take the extra blankets used for swaddling the new baby. It's best ask, but what a way to start off eh, with a healthy stash like that.


3. Gently Used Clothes and Toys - Baby clothes and toys can get expensive. Even some of the gear like swings, high chairs, car seats, strollers and excersaucers can add up. I learned from a friend who had a child before me that she scoured consignment shops and thrift stores, and some in particular in wealthier areas, and she scored loads and loads of gently used and some never before used clothes and baby gear. If you think about it, babies really outgrow stuff pretty quickly and sometimes only get to wear an item once before out growing it. So, their growth can be your baby's gain. You have to wash their clothes anyway, so why not save some money and get some used items. The only thing with items like car seats and cribs is that they do expire (yes, imagine) and earlier models sometimes may be less safe so it's best to make sure they come with all the standard parts and are sturdy before taking it home.



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Friday, November 27, 2009

Winners of the Wubbzy Christmas Adventures DVD announced


The winners of the Wubbzy's Christmas Adventure Giveaway are...


Anita

Katrina Troy

Jennifer McCullar

You've got 72 hours to answer the email announcing your winning status or forfeit the prize to another entrant.

Congrats ladies and Enjoy!

Thanks for entering!




-JJ




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Thursday, November 26, 2009

HAPPY THANKSGIVING from BELLYITCH


and for those of you hitting the road and traveling about today, this weekend and the upcoming Holiday season, here are some tips to keep the Pregnant Traveler SAFE!

From BabyCenter

SIX TIPS TO CONSIDER BEFORE YOU TRAVEL...

1. Consult your healthcare provider

Ask your doctor or midwife whether there are any medical concerns you need to worry about or upcoming tests you need to work around, or whether you're actually okay to travel, period. High-risk pregnancies need extra TLC, which may prohibit travel.

2. Consider your prenatal test schedule

Time your travel around any prenatal tests you want or need to schedule. The following tests are typically performed during the specified weeks of pregnancy: chorionic villus sampling (CVS) (10 to 12 weeks); amniocentesis (15 to 18 weeks); multiple marker screening (15 to 20 weeks); ultrasound (16 to 20 weeks); glucose screening test (GCT) (24 to 28 weeks); group B strep screening (35 to 37 weeks). (And if you're Rh-negative, you'll need your shot of Rh immunoglobulin at 28 weeks.) If you decide to have one or more of these tests, allow time to get the results — and strategize next steps, if appropriate — before leaving on an extended trip.

3. Gather your medical records and vital health information

Before you leave, prepare a list of key names and phone numbers you'll need in case of emergency and pack it in your carry-on luggage. If you are in your second or third trimester, bring along a copy of your prenatal chart, too, and keep it with you at all times during your trip. The chart should include your age, your last menstrual period, your due date, the number and outcomes of any prior pregnancies, your risk factors for disease, pregnancy-related lab tests and ultrasounds, your medical and surgical history, and a flow sheet of vital signs taken at each visit. If you're planning an extended visit, have your healthcare provider refer you to someone in the area for check-ups or emergencies.

4. Make sure you have all the medications you need

Be careful to pack a sufficient supply of prescription medications, prenatal vitamins, and even over-the-counter remedies you may need during your trip — especially if you're going someplace where those medications aren't readily available. It's a good idea to keep prescription medicine in its original container, so if your bags are searched it will be clear that you're not using medication without a prescription.

5. Check your health insurance policy

Find out if it covers pregnancy complications during travel to your intended destinations (particularly if they include foreign countries). If not, you may want to purchase additional insurance.

6. Buy travel insurance

This special insurance covers expenses if you miss all or part of your trip, or run up emergency expenses on the road. Make sure the policy covers pregnancy complications as well as emergency medical transport from your chosen destination(s).

7. Prepare for the unexpected

If you haven't already, join an auto club that provides road service in case your car breaks down or has a flat tire. Carry the phone numbers for any airlines you'll be using in case you need to confirm or reschedule flights. And always carry a cell phone, especially if you're traveling alone.

8. If flying in your third trimester, check your airline's policies

Although rules vary, many airlines don't allow pregnant women to fly during the last week or month of their pregnancy without a note from their healthcare provider. Airline regulations aside, most healthcare providers discourage travel after 36 weeks unless it's absolutely necessary.

BE SAFE!

Next Thursday: Essentials of a Pregnancy Wardrobe!

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Bellyitch Bump Day: The Thanksgiving Belly

This photograph is titled 3 months, 6 months and 9 months! HA!

On a light hearted take on Bump Day today. Bkulser and his buddy decided after eating a Thanksgiving feast one year to compare Belly Bumps. Funny stuff!

I do hope you all did some preventive exercise or abstained from eating too much leading up to Thanksgiving tomorrow. I had a 4-day plan myself leading up to tomorrow. It started with a 6.5 mile run on Sunday, followed by killer Spin class on Monday, 2 mile Speed Run & weight training on Tuesday and another Spin class and body pump weight lifting today. TIME TO EAT!


In other news, check out Kimora Lee Simmon's baby. Saw this on the YBF.com. He's gotten so big already!


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Suri Cruise: Red Carpet Fashionista in Training?

The UK Mail featured a story and photos of the most fashionable celebrity kid around, Suri Cruise, out and about shopping with her mom and grandma wearing kiddie heels...in the rain!! Yes, forget ergonomic Swedish imports that aid children's feet development, this girl is prepping for the red carpet. Being a slave to fashionista-dome is hard work. Even at the tender age of THREE.

The girl has a wardrobe nearly 3 million dollars. It's been said mom Katie Holmes reportedly spends close to $50,000 a month to make sure Suri is seen in the latest trends, including specially made items from world-class designers. Cute. She is beautiful. It wouldn't make us notice so much but for the fact that it is apparently cold out as the adults around her are warmly dressed and wearing boots! Read more hereYour Thoughts?
















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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Reality Show Casting Calls for Pregnant Women & New Moms

Sure Brazilian born Model Adriana Lima and her husband Marko Jaric welcomed a baby girl named Valentina on Nov 16, but how about you? Do you have aspiration of being in front of the camera and turning into a reality TV star? Lucky for you, pregnant Bellyitch reader, there are up to a dozen of casting calls each month for reality shows searching for pregnant women and couples to feature!

To sign up for any of the below casting call listings, join RealityWanted.com, create a profile and sign up! Good Luck ATTENTION HOUNDS! HAHA! For the following, they are casting for Any US STATE!



For the following, they are looking for ANY US STATE

Jerry Seinfeld is hand selecting couples for his brand new NBC comedy series about married life. We need couples who bicker about NOTHING! That's right all those little every day things that people overlook. We want the bed hogs, the toothpaste squeezers and the low talkers of the world! Please send your issue to the Marriage Ref and be as unique and specific as you can !

Open7/22.09 Closing 7/22/09 Casting: NBC/Shed Media




TLC is casting for its new show "I DIDN'T KNOW I WAS PREGNANT"

DO YOU HAVE A PERSONAL STORY WE SHOULD HEAR?
Were you pregnant without knowing it until you went in to labor?
Did you give birth in an unusual location because you didn't know you were pregnant?
Do you know someone who didn’t know they were pregnant?
It’s more common than you think!
TLC is looking for true stories for a brand new season of the successful show

Closing 1/1/09 Casting company: Mike Mathis Productions Inc



Are you obsessed with having a child, but cannot get pregnant? Are you spending most of your time and money trying to get pregnant without any luck? Do your family and friends think you should just give up, and come up with a different plan? If you are spending all of your money and time on getting pregnant and your family and friends think it’s a waste.

Please do not respond unless you’re willing to appear on national television.


A Nationally syndicated popular show is looking for Pregnant Women at Risk of Having a Premie & Want Advice
Are you Pregnant and have been told that you are at risk for a premature birth?Pregnant and worried about having a Premier?Want advice on how to prepare for any eventuality for the healthiest baby?

Start: 11/04/2009 End: 02/22/2010




The FOLLOWING ARE SPECIFIC TO CERTAIN STATES (PLEASE NOTE)

A TV production company is casting for 4-7 Month old Pregnant California Mom's baby story
Are you 4 -7 Months Pregnant and want the birth filmed for TV?Well, we want to make sure you get the best medical care -- and spoil you a bit!Tell us your own personal 'baby story' and you may be chosen

Start: 07/28/2009 End: 01/30/2010



Casting for Recently Pregnant Women/Couples
For Folks in the Dallas/Houston area

Are you Pregnant and not married? A new documentary series about first pregnancies. They are searching for women who aren't sure if the dad is prepared for fatherhood or he is just not stepping up. Are you and your boyfriend having relationship issues? Do you want to find out if he is cut out to be a good Dad? Has this pregnancy added stress to your relationship?

We are looking for unmarried, pregnant women, 18+, who want to prepare the father to be for what’s to come!

Because you are never ready to become a parent, this therapeutic docu-style show will prepare Dads-to-be for their first-born child and help with relationship issues.


Start: 10/22/2009 End: 12/31/2009

New Jersey and New York
Casting for Couples for a New Game Show
HONEY, PLEASE!

Do you have the power of persuasion?

Can you keep a secret?

Apply to be an undercover player on a NEW kind of game show. Contestants will open-up their homes and pick an unknowing teammate (husband/wife, fiancé, boyfriend/girlfriend) to be their accomplice in this hilarious challenge of wit and task.

Cash and prizes will be given for each task you can successfully talk your teammate into completing, BUT your teammate will have no idea they are competing or being filmed.

And don’t forget...it’s a secret!

To get more info and to apply for the show or to refer a couple, apply now!

(All applicants must be within 2 hours driving distance of NYC)
Open: 10/14/09 Closing 12/11/09





Connecticut, New Jersey, New York & Pennsylvania

Casting for Tri-State Area couples who want to get married in Iconic NYC locations
Do you dream of getting married in the most romantic city in the world? Can you imagine saying your “I Do’s” in Central Park? What about The Empire State Building or the…

Start: 09/01/2009 End: 12/01/2009



Tips for Casting. Good Luck Attention Hounds! LOL!










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Product Review:Purple Trail Event Invitation & Planning Site



Have I been under a rock when electronic invites got so high tech? I've used Evite.com which was the standard bearer and is the brand benchmark when it comes to electronic invitations. I love Evites because as a busy mom, wife & business owner, I just can't find the time to do paper invites and keep up w/ RSVPs. Online works best for me! Over the years, I have noticed the designs have gotten even more elaborate and varied on Evite. Kudos to them, but yet for the creative person who wants more personalization, there are limits. Several online photo uploading and printing websites like Shutterfly and Kodak Photo Gallery have jumped the bandwagon and also give the option of designing eye-catching invitations, announcements and photo cards.


So far though, none matches the depth and range of designs and party theme ideas I saw while perusing through the Purple trail.com's website. No, seriously. I am one of those people who has to sit down when walking into a store with goo gabs of visual stimuli and goodies. I just don't know where to start and I get overwhelmed. Not sure that is a good thing, but that is the same feeling I got when I first opened the website.


Purple Trail is an online and paper card event design site that lets users create invitations, customize them and send them online and track responses or print them out and mail via snail mail. Okay, you can order the prints at .95 a copy, which isn't' too bad, but even cheaper is ordering the download at $3.95 and either printing from home or taking the disk with the image to the local drug store or price mart and copying them there for maybe a cheaper price. The only thing I'd fear is possibly getting an inferior image quality perhaps since it isn't company directly from the site, but who knows.


I was genuinely impressed by the style of designs available made by the site's community of users. Also, it is cool that under the religious holiday category, there were options for Eid and Diwali, Muslim and Hindu holidays. My husband hails from Trinidad where it is so diverse that government workers get extra holidays than us in the US celebrating different folks' religious feasts! The community section of the site lets users set up a profile and share designs. Other users can rate the design or indicate if they liked it or not. And, they can totally steal it for their own event! Yay for Pirates! ha!


As a lover of social media, I really liked the following:


1. You have the option of creating an event fund (at an extra cost I believe) so participants can pitch in to the final cost of an event. Paypal, which is a trusted medium for sending and receiving funds, is used.
2. You can send a tweet or Facebook message about the event to your followers and friends;
3. Participants can add messages to the event that could be visible to the host or all guests (that can be good or bad) but it's not just a text message. They could infuse bold, italics and smiley faces and totally personalize their message.
4. There's an option to upload multiple photos and even a video to the invitation and you can allow guests to as well. This is a great option for anniversaries or retirement parties when it can be a great idea to cull resources and photos that a guest may not have in their possession.
5. The option to get text message when other guests replies.


You're supposed to be able to skip signing up and sign in using your Facebook account but for some reason I was unable to.


If properly marketed and used, it could easily replace Eventbrite and Facebook events because it is more visually appealing and the absence of ads gives credibility to the event.


Purple Trail also has a chunk of party ideas for every occasion from Weddings to showers to Birthday parties to farewell parties and the site also features lots of crafts, decorations food and game ideas too. They go well beyond traditional and typical ideas you've seen before.


All in all, Purple Trail is great for the party planner decorator wanna be in all of us.


I will certainly be using them to send out GG's second birthday party invites and for future events. I'm sold and I say that not because I was given a basic membership while checking it out to write this review. You have to take a look for yourself and you'll see...


Though there's loads of free stuff on the site, with a Year Basic membership, you get more. Because I was wondering if there is no advertisement yet, how does this company make money? So here' the answer: Starting at $14.95 up to $49.95 annually, paid subscribers can send Text invites, a certain number of print downloads, 1-day shipping (vs 2 day w/ the Free account), animated cards, payment collection, scheduled sends, limited RSVPs, real time chat and more.


If you want a shot at one annual basic membership of your own, Party Trail is giving one away to one lucky Bellyitch Reader. Simply fill out this form below and in it let me know which article form http://purpletrail.com/partytrail you like best.


For additional entries, simply follow Purple Trail on Twitter or become a Facebook Fan of theirs. But to get the extra entry, please fill out a fresh form indicating for each way you entered. I'll pick the winner via Random.org's interger thingamabob.


Deadline shall be December 5 at Midnight. Limit to US residents and those over 18. The winner will be sent a code to enter for the year's membership.

Good LUCK!

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Call for Pregnancy Photographers & New "It" products


A couple of things I'd like to request if anyone is listening and can help out:

1. I am looking for photographers from different parts of the country who photograph pregnant women to donate a free sitting/ session and maybe at least one print or package for a Bellyitch contest to give away sessions to pregnant readers for the Holidays!

In exchange, I would be willing to put up an ad on my blog and links on my VERY POPULAR posts about maternity photography. I get hundreds of traffic to and out to the various photogs that I mentioned in my two past posts about maternity photography. I monitor out going traffic and most of the photographers mentioned in that post get loads of traffic from my post. In fact, for a while and I still think is true today, they pop up on the first page when someone "Googles" the search term "Maternity Session or Photography" or "What To Wear to My Maternity Session."

I'd like to do a give away for my readers but think to be fair I should get at least 5 from the various parts of the country to donate. I kind of have a candidate or two for the DC area.

2. I'm interested in doing a post on the hottest "it" toys or gadgets that real moms covet and have to have for their little ones. I was very late on the Bumbo Seat bandwagon and had no clue about Sophie the Giraffe until a guest blogger blogged about it so I realize I am officially "out of the loop." So help a blogger out will ya. I am fine doing my own research, but I prefer to hear from real moms rather than marketing folks who sometimes don't know what's hot!

Send me an email at Belly_itch(at) yahoo.com if you have input on either one or feel free to leave a comment.

THANKS MUCH!

next up...my review on Purple Trail online invitation

Photo above is GG in her bumbo seat at age 3 months.

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Pregnancy Spotlight: Dear Baby


Okay, I am loving "Dear Baby" because primarily of its vintage looks but also because soon to be mom, Melissa, who authors this blog seems like the quintessential a down to earth person and reading her posts make me feel like I've known her for years. She's like that straight shooter girlfriend everyone has. Anyway, I am absolutely in love with the vintage look of the photos on this blog. Even more so, I absolutely adore the archives as well. Dear Baby is currently # 2 on the Top Baby Blogs listing where I picked her up to spotlight in the first place.

Melissa blogs from her home in San Francisco where she lives in her dream house with her hubby, Brent. The two wed in September (I mention this because that is the absolute best
month in the year and not just because I was born in that month. ha!)

How sweet that she found out on mother's day she was pregnant and I love the periodic posts that are sweet letters to her little girl she is expecting in a few weeks. The tour of her nursery is tops. All of the knick knacks and family heirlooms she's arranged in the nursery give it such a homey comfortable feel.

Dear Baby = Me Likey!

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Community Saturday: Notes and Notations

Here's the second installment of a posting of various community related news, information and tid bits I've been asked to share with readers. Please note, to satisfy FTC blogger requirements, I've received no product, service or other compensation for these listings, just sharing great information. Enjoy!



Ricky's in NYC is having an anniversary sale and giving customers 20% off professional products, appliances and other beauty products. Get the deets at Ricky-NYC.com.



Only a few days left for the Mini-Social's November sale for up to 60% off of various top children's and baby brands and designers. Learn More at www.theMiniSocial.com


After 20 years in the entertainment industry, many of them producing feature films,veteran photographer Rachel Hudgins has turned her passion of capturing human moments into a successful business photographing children. Creative sessions include Breakfast at Bedtime, traditional or a year of photographs at a location of the customers choice with prices starting at $500. Not Bad! Visit www.RachelHudgins.com for more information.


Live in the LA area? Want to shop where celebrities like Halle Berry, Cindy Crawford, Jennifer Garner, and Pierce Brosnan take their families to shop? Check out the Malibu Country Mart, located in the heart of Malibu, California. Considered one of the country’s premier shopping, entertainment, and dining destinations, the Malibu Country Mart is nestled against the majestic mountains, just a stone’s throw from the Pacific Ocean and encompasses 6 acres of prime real estate in the heart of Malibu’s civic center. The retailers, restaurants, galleries and exclusive boutiques include 98% Angel, Toy Crazy, Oliver Peoples, Ralph Lauren, Malibu Kitchen & Gourmet Country Market, and Canvas Boutique and Gallery.
above: Travis Barker & Kids; Suzanne Sommer and Kids; and Pierce Brosnan and his boys.

On November 28, between 11 and 4pm, the National Children's Museum will support family volunteering at the Launch Zone, inviting children and their families to craft gifts and holiday decorations benefiting sick children of The Children’s Inn at National Institutes of Health. In pairing NCM’s resources with personal creativity, kid volunteers see how their hard work and compassion can make a difference in the lives of others.
Benefits of Volunteering:·
  • Strengthens teamwork. Local communities prosper from the attention of many.
  • Develops awareness. Children are exposed to who and what makes a community.
  • An expanded world perspective evokes values of respect for diversity and compassion toward others. Fosters discussion. Family members reflect and trade stories after the volunteer experience. Communication is enhanced as families connect.
  • Cultivates inspiration. Parents model proactive community involvement. Children reframe a single act of volunteering as a lifelong habit.
WAYS TO TEACH YOUR CHILDREN ABOUT VOLUNTEERING

  • Take your family to pick up trash from a local park. Pack a Frisbee to let loose after a day of work or school.
  • Arrange a day of volunteering with your child and a fellow classmate’s family. Everyone will learn you can have fun while making a difference.
  • Throw a party with a “helping others” theme. Guests can decorate tote bags, picture frames, and/or greeting cards to be donated to a homeless shelter or hospital.
  • Visit the following websites to learn about specific opportunities in your area:


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Friday, November 20, 2009

What's GG Up to: Being the Cutest Guest at the ICE exhibit
















Our friends at the National Children's Museum invited me and the fam to preview a spectacular award winning exhibit called ICE a day before it opened to the public and to check out the cool ICE related demo the National Children's Museum's Launch Zone was planning to share with families this holiday season.

ICE is a
winter wonderland created entirely from two million pounds of ice, hand-sculpted by 40 international artisans. This frozen world of larger-than-life ice sculptures includes ten different holiday scenes and ice slides that stand more than two stories tall!The exhibit runs in winter months at the Gaylord's other properties and this was the first time debuting in the DC area fun!

I remember visiting the National Children's Museum on field trips as a kid growing up in DC. when it was located on Capitol Hill. At some point, the building the museum was housed in got too dilapidated and plans were made to move it to a 150,00 square foot building at the National Harbor near DC in 2013. I can't wait! In the meantime, while being built, NCM opened a Launch Zone at the Harbor this past spring, which is a 2,700 square foot store front center where children can preview and provide input on the type of exhibits that will be featured in the new museum once reopened. Check out the Launch Zone Schedule Events HERE! Also, to supplement the Launch Zone activities and events, NCM hosts a series of events, workshops and traveling exhibits in its Museum Without Walls program.

We got to the preview a bit late and missed a chance to tour the Launch Zone, but we did catch up with other mommy bloggers inside the ICE tent which houses the exhibit. The tent is kept at 9 degrees to keep the ice from melting from the heat visitors' bodies emanate when passing through the exhibit. Any lower and it may become too brittle and break and any warmer,the Ice would melt. Well, we should've been better prepared for that bit of trivia but we weren't and we didn't layer GG enough nor outfit her in mittens to keep warm. Needless to say, she didn't have much of a shelf life through the ICE cold tent...

...so she had to make a quicker exit, but not before she made every single man and woman (teachers, bloggers, employees, journalists and others there previewing) who passed her waddling by from ooohing and ahhing at the cute mini parka and how cute she looked . We got a big old smile out of everyone who got a peek of my little blue parka'd PENGUIN!! As usual, GG was a hit!


And she didn't go quietly into the big oversized coat either. You should've seen the look she gave to the dozen or so greeters who were there to help patrons into their coats. I think I captured a bit of her hesitance in this photo below...she's like "whoa, Dude, what's going on here?" Hilarious! (Click photos for a larger crisper view)
















Okay,
we're ready now...


Even though the parkas kept us pretty warm, to get your money's worth, (prices start at $19.99 for adults and $13.00 for kids) I recommend you come dress ed warmly and plan to stay in the exhibit for at least 30 minutes. Imagine that's a long time to be in a 9-degrees tent so do come prepared and dress in warm layers and definitely gloves and hats and/or scarves.













The boys enjoyed the 4 slides that flanked the Grand ice sculpted entrance to Santa's workshop. I think my middle boy, the 4 year old, slid down at least 20 times down all the slides.
We almost had to drag him out kicking and screaming and everyday he begs to go back!


The stairwell leading up to the slides....
















In the portion of the exhibit that is Santa's Toy Shop, the inspiration for each ice sculpture was situated next to each other so you could marvel at the similarity.



















One of my favorite pieces was the angel sculpture with a phenomenal Nativity scene coming in a close second...


The details were spectacular and apparently, Chinese artisans and other international craftsmen and women who create extravagant Ice villages and exhibits in their respective nations traveled here to re-create their masterpieces for this exhibit.

To add an educational element to the exhibit and for those who maybe can't afford the exhibit, NCM had about 6 different stations that are part of its Cryogenics Science Show (when we visited, it was outside the "cold room" past the ICE Store). The boys got to actually get hands on as they learned about the properties of dry ice and liquid nitrogen. They had a ball and it was educational. This is great because I do plan to steer all my kids to careers in science. Yup, I am that pushy mom! Ha!

Learn more about the shows which will be presented December 5, 12, 19 at 1:15 and 3:30pm in the Gaylord National Resort Atrium HERE.

If you live in the area or plan to visit the DC area between November 19 and January 10, hit up Gaylord National's ICE exhibit because it's definitely worth seeing up close and in person.

Though, I must admit, in this recessionary economy, the price may be a bit too steep for some families. For those who live in the DC area, NCM hosts FREE Science Saturdays and a series of Gingerbread making workshops (at cost with a portion of proceeds going to the Museum Fund). There are other free or cheaper options too to check out.

Some are in The Gaylord Resort itself which has a lot going on too including a new Ice Skating rink that's set to open soon and will cost $8.00 per person, a nightly Tree lighting show, a Train Village, indoor snow falls, local musical performances, dancing water (ooh like the fabulous one at The Bellagio in Vegas, I wonder), brunch and lunch with Santa and more. Find out more at its Christmas On The Potomac website.

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